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"The Steadfast Tin Soldier" (Danish: "Den Standhaftige Tinsoldat") is a Fairy Tale by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen about the love a tin soldier holds for a paper ballerina, who seems to like him back. After several perilous adventures, the tin soldier and his love perish in a fire. The tale was first published in 1838.
Like "The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep" (1845), "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" displays Andersen's talent for investing ordinary household objects with life, character, and personality. Both tales narrate romances between household objects but differ in that the 1838 story ends with the lovers joined in death while the 1845 story ends with the lovers living (in fairy tale fashion) happily ever after. Andersen may have taken inspiration for the tale from memories of his few cherished childhood toys.
Though the title has been translated variously as "The Brave Tin Soldier" and "The Courageous Tin Soldier", the story is generally known in the English speaking world as "The Steadfast Tin Soldier". The tale has been adapted in various media including ballet and animated film.
You can read this here.
"The Steadfast Tin Soldier" has examples of:
- Arch Enemy: The "Black bogey" in the snuffbox.
- Bittersweet Ending
- Diabolus Ex Machina
- Disneyfication: The Fantasia 2000 segment based on the story had an antagonistic jack-in-the-box burn in the place of our hero and his squeeze (though this was only because of the Soundtrack Dissonance they'd have if they kept the original ending).
- Family-Unfriendly Death
- The Hero
- Honour Before Reason: The Tin Soldier can talk, but refuses to do so while in uniform. Which is always.
- Kids Are Cruel: One throws the solider into a stove for no reason at all.
- Living Toys
- Nameless Narrative
- Star-Crossed Lovers: The Soldier and the Ballerina. They can only be Together in Death